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"Germanness" in 19th century German history

Discussion in 'World History' started by Traitorfish, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    The following is a recent university essay dealing with the "Germanness" of German history. Not sure if it's of interest to anyone, but it seemed worth adding on the off-chance you're willing to suffer through three-thousand words of my ill-considered rambling. Please pick holes in it as you desire; I can only learn!


    “German history” can be defined in simply geographic-political terms, as the history of an area of Central Europe corresponding roughly to the borders of the Holy Roman Empire of the medieval and early modern periods, and to the Confederation, Empire and Republics which subsequently occupied the greater part of that territory, which were identified by contemporaries as “Germany”. But “German history” is commonly understood as a national history, as the history of a national community enduring across centuries, held together by a more fundamental association than the often very loose bonds of political confederation. “German-ness” is in this view a characteristic of a national community rather than institutions, emerging through a collective awareness of the possession of a shared language and history. Nationalists readily concede that we cannot take for granted that a given population is possessed of any such collective identity; the necessity of drawing out a population’s “national consciousness” is the first point in any nationalist programme. But this assumes that the consciousness is simply latent, implicit in the sharing of certain essential experiences. Historians are obliged to examine critically such claims to historical community, and consequently the possibility of talking about a “national history” in Germany. We must investigate the extent to which “Germans” understood their experiences in shared terms, and the extent to which these experiences were distinctive from that of “non-Germans”.

    Central to the German understanding of national identity was language. Native possession of the German language identified a person as “German” as opposed to “French”, “Polish” or “Italian”, and bound them to a German national community stretching from the Tyrol to Holstein and from Alsace to Prussia. Philosophers of nationality such as a Johann Gottfried Herder understood language as a tangible expression of shared experiences and ways of thinking, and believed that certain syntactical and semantic characteristics could be identified across regional dialects which identified their speakers as possessed of Germanness, of values and patterns of thought distinctive to Germans, and distinguished them from non-speakers and non-native speakers, who correspondingly possessed their own distinct “national” characteristics. In practice, however, these dialects were diverse often to the point of mutual intelligibility in their spoken form; it is unlikely, when Herder wrote in the late eighteenth century, that an Austrian, a Rheinlander, a Pomeranian and a Yiddish-speaking Lithuanian could comfortably carry on a conversion in their vernacular dialects. What allowed individuals of diverse linguistic backgrounds to identify themselves as “German” was shared reference to literary dialect of High German.

    Although literary forms of German had existed since the Medieval period, the emergence of a single, shared written language was a product of the print revolution of the 16th century. The newfound ability to produce documents with unprecedented speed and cheapness allowed the emergence of a mass reading-public, which in turn contributed to the decline of Latin as a standard literary form. The historian of national identity Benedict Anderson describes how these developments encouraged a localisation of perspective in European literature, in part because so much of the new reading public was comprised of people with geographically more limited perspectives than the nobles and clerics who had formerly dominated European literature, but also because the assumed reading public of a text was no longer the universal Catholic church, sprawled across Europe and with outputs across Asia, Africa and the Americas, but a specifically “French”, “English” or “German” publics, tied to particular regions of Europe.

    At the same time, however, this typically meant a broadening of perspective on the part of individual readers, as the use of standardised written forms used across large areas both obliged and allowed readers to imagine themselves as part of a community of readers extending beyond the traditional horizons of the local district. This collective experience as readers, engaged in a shared literary and cultural discourse, encouraged Europeans imagine themselves as sharing more than just the printed page, but common patterns of life and ways of thinking. A reader could begin to think of themselves not simply as a Frankfurter, Berliner or a Bremener, but as a “German”.

    The Protestant Reformation here emerges as a crucial touchstone for proponents of German national identity. The dissemination of a shared written German in the 16th century owed much to the rapid dissemination of the writings of Martin Luther, above all his translation of the Bible into German, which made use of a High German dialect typical of Upper Saxony. Leopold von Ranke, the great 19th century historian, shares Anderson’s attention to the relationship between a reading community and national identity, albeit in an inverted form, and discusses the German Reformation as the first entry of a self-conscious Germany into European history. By producing a body of high literature that was both particularly German and broadly German, that was both written directly into German (rather than as vernacularized Latin texts) and expressed extra-local concerns, Ranke argues, the early Lutheran movement brought into being a self-conscious German literary community, uniquely capable of speaking on behalf of the German nation.

    In practice, however, the religious fissures of the Reformation do not break down along the “national” lines imagined by Ranke, with around half of Germans remaining Roman Catholic, and many adopting non-Lutheran Protestantisms such as Calvinism and Anabaptism, fracturing much of popular “German” print culture along confessional lines. Particularly problematic for proponents of German nationhood, the Calvinists of the Netherlands possessed a strong and independent print culture in the local Low Franconian dialect, which paid little reference to High German print culture or its Lutheran canon. The lack of any non-arbitrary reasoning by which Dutch could be excluded from “Germany”, while speakers Franconian and Low Saxon dialects more closely related to Dutch than to High German regarded as unambiguously “German”, sheds light on the often-flimsy distinction between “language” and “dialect”, and the extent to which it was informed by political aspirations, rather than, as in the nationalist ideal, the reverse. This became particularly pointed when addressing Germany’s sizeable Ashkenazi Jewish minority, the majority of which spoke either local dialects of German or Yiddish, a dialect of Rhenish High German written using the Hebrew alphabet, which in strictly linguistic terms would make them as “German” as any other speaker of those dialects , yet even liberal German Christians would often insist that Jews continued to form a distinct “Jewish nation”, geographically co-existent with “Germany”, but culturally insoluble to the extent it remained attached to a distinct identity and religion.

    What emerges here is the endurance of local or sectional identities, robust despite the contempt of proponents of a shared German nationality. The Dutch example is the most pronounced; while some German writers imagined a Germany stretching from “the Meuse to the Memel”, encompassing the Netherlands (as well as the Franconian-speakers of the duchies of Limburg and Luxembourg), the stubborn refusal of the “Netherlandish Germans” to see themselves as such forcing acknowledgement of a distinct “Dutch nation”. None the less, regional patriotisms continued to wield considerable influence elsewhere in regions identified as unambiguously “German”. Nationalist festivals are well known as focal points for emerging German national identity, but regional festivals proliferated in the same period, celebrating local traditions, regional identities, and loyalty to ruling dynasties. The first major regional festival, the Cannstatter Volkfest held in 1818 near Stuttgart by Württembergish patriots, attracting almost thirty thousand people, as many as the much-celebrated nationalist Hambach Festival of 1832, while by the late 19th century, the Wittelsbach-sponsored Munich Oktoberfest would regularly attract visitors in the hundreds of thousands. New editions of classic texts emerged which presented counter-nationalist accounts of their authors, such as a complete edition of the works Gottfired Wilhelm Liebniz presenting him as a Hanoverian rather than German philosopher , while Saxon commemorations of Martin Luther emphasised his personal ties to the House of Wettin and the particularly Saxon dialect of his writing.

    Particularist patriots made use of a vocabulary and symbolism consciously parallel to those of German nationalists, espousing loyalty to the Saxon or Württembergish “Fatherland”, or rivalling “Germania”, the feminine personification of the German nation, with local variants such as “Bavaria” or “Hammonia”. (p.268) In Saxony, the Wettin kings began to replace the traditional style of “Wettinfürst” (“Wettin prince”) with “Sachsenfürst” (“Saxon prince”), echoing nationalist calls for a “King of Germans”. In the far South-West, German-speakers of Switzerland remained resolutely attached to their independent, multi-lingual confederation, oblivious to Romantic salutes to the “Land of Tell” as an integral part of the German homeland. The romantic writer Heinrich von Kleist, although himself a nationalist, acknowledged the contradictions of identity found in 19th century Germany, imagining a young nationalist confronting his father with an assertion of German nationality, and the father’s indignant reply that the son was born in Meissen and is therefore a Saxon, tartly observing that this mythical land of “Germany” can be found on no map, and its people in no census.

    The persistence of regional and state identities becomes most pointed when we look at ethnic non-Germans living under states dominated by ethnic German rulers, particularly in Hohenzollern Prussia and Hapsburg Austria. To speakers of Slavic languages, who predominated on the Eastern edges of the German Confederation, participation in a German national community often held little attraction, but this did not mean that they would default automatically to a competing ethnic nationalism. In Prussia, loyalties tended to develop along confessional and traditional rather than ethnic lines. For the Lithuanians and Masurians (Polish-speaking Protestants) of East Prussia, loyalty to the Lutheran Church and Prussian crown took priority over ethnic solidarity with Catholic subjects of the Russian Tsar. They were able to call upon their historical ties to the ducal crown of Prussia against German prejudice, arguing that they were not only on an equal footing with ethnically-German Prussians, but that as loyal Staroprusaki (“Old Prussians”), they had priority in the state over the newly-Prussian Germans of Hanover, Westphalia and the Rhineland, unreliable newcomers whatever language they happened to speak. Similarly, the Sorbs of Brandenburg and Kashubs of Pomerania, Lutherans and subjects of Prussia-Brandenburg, regarded themselves as unambiguously “Prussian”, invoking old loyalties to the “Duke of Cassubians and Wends” , in spite of their ethnic ties to the Sorbs of Silesia and the Kashubs of Royal Prussia, Catholics and (until partition) subjects of the Kingdom of Poland.

    In the Hapsburg Empire, even proponents of ethnic self-government often posed their demands in imperials terms, for “national autonomy” within the empire rather than for “national independence” outside it. When František Palacký, a leader of the Czech national movement, was invited by the all-German Vorparlament (Pre-parliament) to attend the 1848 Parliament at Frankfurt as a delegate for the Kingdom of Bohemia, he refused on the grounds that “natural and historical reasons propel me to turn, not to Frankfurt, but to Vienna”. Even in the fractious former-Ottoman territories of the Balkan peninsula, many looked to Vienna as a source of supreme government, such as the anonymous Bosnian Muslim writing in the German-language Sarajevoer Tagblatt, who espoused a pro-Hapsburg position against the rising Yugoslav movement, which the writer derides as a chauvinistic “Great Serbia nationalism”, arguing that the imperial state was uniquely capable administering the diverse ethnic and religious groups of the Hapsburg Balkans. Imperial reciprocation for these sentiments increased in the late 19th century as the symbolic ejection of Austria from “Germany” in 1871 encouraged a renewed emphasis on dynastic and imperial patriotism, even towards a dynastically-orientated “Greater Austrian nationalism”. Aurel Popovici, a Hapsburg loyalist of Romanian ethnicity, developed a proposal for a “United States of Greater Austria”, which would see Austria-Hungary reorganised as a Nationalitätenbundesstaat (“Federative State of Nationalities”), a federation of ethnic states under a central government in Vienna, a program which quickly gained popularity among the confessional and pan-national Catholic Social Movement and, in a republican form, by the Social Democrats. In both Austria and Prussia, what was “a German state” to some was merely “the state” to others.

    Yet it was not the case that regional and sectional identities precluded identification with “Germany”. Pointed expressions of regional identity were often intended to assert an independence from Prussia and Austria, rather than from Germany, and could be used to claim autonomy within a German national state rather than separation from it. Indeed, the collective grumblings of, Bavarians, Thuringians and Rheinlanders about Prussian arrogance could serve to develop feelings of solidarity between historically-diverse populations, tying Bavarian peasants to Rheinish industrialists and Protestant Bremeners to Swabian Catholics. Regional loyalties could also be expressed in nationalistic terms, as when the Hanoverian particularist Maximillian Harden asserted against Prussian claims of national leadership that “Lower Saxony is the most specifically German, and its inhabitants are the only real Germans, in that they cultivate heimisch [homely] ways”. When Konrad Ardenauer famously remarked of the Elbe, “here Asia begins”, he expressed an old tradition of viewing a pluralistic Germany in opposition to a domineering, only half-German Prussia. This intertwining of identities could even acquire the status of state policy, especially in Bavaria, where the Wittelsbach monarchs (before and after unification) styled themselves as the voice of the “Third Germany”, the small states between Prussia and Austria, assigning to Munich a mission every bit as “national” as those attributed to Berlin or Vienna.

    This new overlapping of identities was often expressed as a contrast between membership in a local Stamm, “tribe”, and a national Volk, “people” or “nation”, which would allow our Meisseners to reconcile as members of the "Saxon tribe of the German nation. Further still, the persistence of identities tied to particular civic, state and dynastic loyalties forced yet more pluralistic understanding of personal identity, as did the movements of populations from rural to industrial areas that severed the identity of home and residence. An unexpected product of this pluralism was the opening of a new space for German Jews in the national discourse: traditionally faced with a choice between assimilation and isolation, it was now possible to argue that the Ashkenazim represented a German “tribe” as much as any other, with as deeply and authentically “German” a history. By the 20th century, an individual could be a Jew, a Kölner, a Rhinelander, a Prussian and a German, neither identity excluding or wholly containing the others.

    A sophisticated expression of the complex layering of identities in 19th century Germany is the painting “The Return of the Volunteer from the Wars of Liberation to His Family Still Living in Accordance with Old Customs” by the German Jewish painter Moritz Daniel Oppenheim. The painting depicts a young solider in the blue-grey of the PrussianLandwehr, returned from the Wars of Liberation against the French Empire to his family home, a familiar scene of domestic patriotism made distinctive by the family’s evident adherence to Orthodox Judaism. Conventionally bourgeois dress is combined with Jewish headgear, while on the walls Jewish religious iconography hangs alongside a portrait of Frederick the Great. Oppenheim shows us a view of history which is at the same time German, Prussian and Jewish, in which identities of nationality, region, state, ethnicity and religion intertwine. It gives us access to a history which, by the nineteenth century, was neither simply German or not-German, but in which “Germany” represents ones layer of collective experience among many.
     
  2. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    (I think there's a sort of half-concious Halsallism to that last bit, which is weird because I haven't actually gotten around to reading any of Halsall's books yet. I think it's just what happens if you hang around CFC long enough.)
     
  3. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Interesting but lengthy, I will take my time tomorrow to read through all of this.

    Now I only want to point out one thing:

    It is highly disputable among scholars whether we can call 19th century Yiddish a dialect of German.

    As a matter of fact Yiddish at that time had almost as many Slavic loanwoards and influences as German ones.

    Due to this fact, we probably can't even talk about Yiddish as one dialect - rather two dialects: Eastern and Western Yiddish:

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/yiddish.html

     
  4. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Fair point, although as I mention in the essay, I'm not setting too much store by the "language/dialect" distinction, so my intention there was really to emphasise the proximity of Yiddish to High German, and why that posed a conceptual obstacle for German nationalists. There was neither really the space nor the necessity to include a potted history of the Yiddish language.
     
  5. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Ok, you are right - it is late here so I will read this all tomorrow.

    Now I just took a brief look and noticed this Yiddish-thing. Also one more thing:

    Sorbs only lived in a very small north-western part of Lower Silesia (borderland between Silesia and Lubusz / Lebus Land). The main Sorbian area was historically Lusatia. They never really inhabited Silesia - including also Early Medieval times, before German immigrants started to settle in Lower Silesia.

    Historical Lusatia was divided between Brandenburg and Saxony (and still is) - I noticed that you also mention Sorbs of Brandenburg and this is OK.

    I will read the whole thing tomorrow. Good night.

    =========================

    BTW:

    Regarding loyalty of majority of mostly Protestant Polish Masurians to Prussia you are right - but I don't really agree when it comes to Kashubs.

    It also should be noted that loyalty to Prussia of many ethnic Polish groups was destroyed by Bismarck and his persecutions of those groups.

    Bismarck's attempts at forced Germanization had exactly the opposite effect - the growth of anti-German sentiment and of Polish nationalism.

    As the result, former Prussian partition became the main source of electorate for Polish nationalist parties after 1918 (and these parties won elections in 1922). On the other hand, in former Austrian-controlled Galicia and much of Russian-controlled Congress Kingdom of Poland nationalists had much less support.

    In Galicia - which enjoyed broad autonomy under Austrian rules, and was the least persecuted of all partitions - nationalists had minimal support.
     
  6. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    That's very true, yes! I avoided dealing with the period from 1886 onwards, because as you say it turns a lot of traditional loyalties upside down, and any attempt to address it without throwing off the structure was going to come across as token. In retrospect, I probably should have defined my time period better, given that I'm apparently pulling up short of 1880 in Prussia, but cheerfully quoting newspapers from the 1910s in Austrian.

    I also think that part of the problem with Kashubs is that the Lutheran Kashubs underwent a pretty pronounced and apparently self-originating period of Germanisation in the 19th century, so by the turn of the century, "Kashub" and "Prussian" appear to be much more antagonistic identities than would have been the case a century earlier. There are accounts from the 1860s of Kashub villages holding two separate Sunday services, one in Kashub attended by older generations in traditional dress, and another by younger generations in modern formal dress. It really could be that dramatic.
     
  7. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Indeed, this is true.

    Majority of Lutheran Kashubs underwent linguistic Germanisation during the 19th century. Although I must argue with the claim that it was self-originating - in some cases it was, but often the initiative came from local German authorities, who were closing churches and schools with non-German language of instruction / sermons, replacing them by churches and schools with German language - this process can be traced from old documents, which say in which year German replaced Kashubian as language of schools and churches in each parish / county.

    And I suppose this is why you argued with me in the other thread, that Kashubs did not have any strong Polish identity. This is true regarding Lutheran Kashubs which you mention here. And above I can see that you indeed distinguish between "Kashubs of Pomerania, Lutherans and subjects of Prussia-Brandenburg" and "Kashubs of Royal Prussia, Catholics and (until partition) subjects of the Kingdom of Poland".

    I guess a little misunderstanding between us took place - I initially did not realize that you speak about those western Kashubs, from Western Pomerania. That's because here in Poland a more popular name for this branch of Protestant Kashubs is Słowińcy (Slovincians) - even though the dialect their spoke was very similar to that of Eastern Kashubs, most of whom were Catholics.

    So when I speak about Kashubs, I always refer to those Eastern Kashubs, among whom Catholic denomination was dominant. On the other hand, when referring to Western Kashubs - mostly Lutheran and most of whom underwent linguistic assimilation with Germans during the 19th century:

    I usually call them Slovincians, as Ceynowa and Hilferding named them (see the video):


    Link to video.

    ======================================

    Here data regarding this - dates when non-German sermons were abolished in each parish and replaced by German sermons:

    1) Lutheran parishes of Słupsk (Kashub: Słëpsk; German: Stolp) County:

    Słupsk (Kashub: Słëpsk; German: Stolp) - 1755
    Stowęcin (Kashub: Stowicëno; German: Stojentin) - 1816
    Rowy (Kashub: Rowë; German: Rowe) - 1830
    Smołdzino (Kashub: Smôłdzën; German: Schmolsin) - 1833
    Gardna Wielka (West Kashub: Vjélgå Garnåu; East Kashub: Wiôlgô Garnô; German: Groß Garde) - 1850
    Cecenowo (Kashub: Cecenowò; German: Zezenow) - 1876
    Główczyce (Kashub: Główczëce; German: Glowitz) - 1885
    Kluki (West Kashub: Kláhi; East Kashub: Klëczi; German: Klucken) - 1890

    2) Lutheran parishes of Bytów (Kashub: Bëtowò; German: Bütow) County:

    Pomysk Wielki (Kashub: Wiôldżi Pòmësk; German: Groß Pomeiske) - 1810
    Jasień (Kashub: Jaséń; German: Jassen) - 1810
    Sominy (Kashub: Sominë; German: Sommin) - 1810
    Borzytuchom (Kashub: Bòrzitëchòm; German: Borntuchen) - 1828
    Tuchom (Kashub: Tëchòm) - 1844
    Bytów (Kashub: Bëtowò; German: Bütow) - 1859

    3) Lutheran parishes of Lębork (Kashub: Lãbórg; German: Lauenburg) County:

    Garczegórze - 1775
    Nowa Wieś (Kashub: Nowô Wies; German: Neuendorf) - 1775
    Bożepole Wielkie (Kashub: Bòżépòle Wiôldżé; German: Groß Boschpol) - 1809
    Lębork (Kashub: Lãbórg; German: Lauenburg) - 1820
    Bukowina (Kashub: Bùkòwina; German: Buckowin) - 1821
    Brzeźno (Kashub: Brzézno; German: Brösen) - 1825
    Dzięcielec (Kashub: Dzëcélcz) - 1825
    Łebunia (Kashub: Łebùniô) - 1830
    Gniewino (Kashub: Gniewino; German: Gnewin) - 1845
    Łeba (Kashub: Łeba; German: Leba) - 1850
    Sarbsko (Kashub: Sôrbskò; German: Sarbske) - 1850
    Wielkie Janowice (Kashub: Wieldżé Janowice; German: Groß Jannewitz) - 1852
    Zwartowo (Kashub: Zwôrtowò) - 1852
    Salino (Kashub: Sôlëno; German: Saulin) - 1863
    Osieki (Kashub: Òseczi; German: Wusseken) - 1865
    Charbrowo (Kashub: Charbrowò; German: Charbrow) - 1870

    In some of these cases - it seems - it is hard to distinguish which is the cause and which is the result - i.e. whether German sermons were introduced in a particular parish because nobody could understand Kashubian sermons in that parish anymore, or was it inversely - non-German sermons were abolished by the authorities, replaced by German sermons, and as the result inhabitants were becoming Germanized within a few generations from that date.

    I suppose that both of these versions of events applied, depending on a particular parish.

    Here a map showing roughly the same data (might be some differences) as I posted above (and some more):

    "Abschafftung von Gottesdienst in polnischer Sprache (mit Zeitangabe)" - "Abolition of sermons in Polish [Kashub] language (with dates)":



    ============================

    In more western parts of Pomerania Germanisation took place earlier, for example:

    - near Świdwin (Schivelbein) and Kołobrzeg (Kolberg) majority of population was Germanized during 15th - 16th centuries,
    - in year 1516 using Wendish (Slavic) language in public was prohibited by local authorities in the city of Koszalin (Kòszalëno / Köslin),
    - in areas around Sławno (Słôwno / Schlawe) and Szczecinek (Nowé Szczëtno / Neustettin) most people underwent Germanisation during the 17th century,
    - in Lutheran Kashub parishes such as Dretiń (German: Treten), Bròczënô, Barcëno (German: Bartin), Kwakòwò (German: Quackenburg) Kashub was replaced by German as the language of sermons in year 1705 and in parish Wrzéscé (German: Freist) in year 1702.
     
  8. dutchfire

    dutchfire Moderator Moderator

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    Any opinions on the Hermanssdenkaml, the Walhalla in Regensburg and similar projects in the 19th century?
     
  9. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    This is a very interesting read on the emergence of "Pan-German" identity, as I suppose we can call it - in opposition to "regional German" identities.

    Indeed the print revolution started the period of linguistic transformation from countless regional dialects, which were spoken perhaps by overwhelming majority of all European societies (only elites spoke somehow more unified "High" versions of languages) - and which were often very distinct from each other as you wrote - to "nation-wide", "High" literary languages. A transformation that was accelerated by spread of universal education and ended perhaps in the 20th century (when most of once great variety of regional dialects in Europe was already gone). Your essay sheds some light on aspects of print revolution which are sometimes overlooked - how it shaped supra-regional identities and in the end also contributed to the rise of nation-wide identities.

    I agree with all these interesting points. Let's just add that the Counter-Reformation played - unfortunately (in my opinion) - a pretty similar role for the evolution of Polish national identity after the mid-17th century, but in this case it also did not mean that a person could not adopt a Polish identity without being a Catholic - there was still a sizeable number of people with Polish identity who were of non-Catholic denominations (and in case of Germany even as many as around half or more of all German-speakers actually remained Roman Catholics or non-Lutheran Protestants, as you pointed out).

    Nevertheless, religious factors and religious identities undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping ethnic / national divisions in this part of Europe. Following the mid-17th century, when Counter-Reformation in the Kingdom of Poland achieved a success, society of the Kingdom of Poland was becoming increasingly Catholic, which led to loosening of cultural ties between Polish-speaking Catholics from the Kingdom, and Polish-speaking Protestants outside of political borders of the Kingdom (such as Masurians in Prussia, or Poles in Bohemian-controlled Lower Silesia). This in turn led to the fact, that many of Polish-speaking Protestants were becoming increasingly culturally tied to neighbouring Protestant German states, which in the end resulted also in linguistic Germanization of large parts of previously Polish-speaking (or Slavic-speaking at least) populations. One example was already given above - Protestant Kashubs (Slovincians), although in this case policies of local authorities promoting Germanization played a significant role as well.

    Very interesting again. But what do you think were the main reasons why the "Netherlandish Germans" - as Pan-German nationalists would like to call them - in the end refused to accept the "Pan-German" tendency, which gradually spread during the 19th century (not without opposition by followers of regional identities - as your essay underlines)? After all, so many other regional communities did eventually accept this "Pan-German" idea, despite the fact that their regional German dialects were often not much less different from "regular High German", than Dutch language.

    Also German-speaking Swiss people eventually chose a different national identity.

    Austrians - I have such an impression - for some time "struggled" between "Pan-German" and a distinct, Austrian, identity. Nowadays, in 21st century, I think there are no doubts that Austrians are a separate identity from Germans. But that was not so clear in 19th - 20th centuries.

    Austrians had more in common with Bavarians, than with any other Germans.

    And Bavarians even today are considered by some other Germans as a very distinctive (culturally) regional community among Germans.

    So reasons why Bavarians eventually chose a [Pan-]German identity, while Austrians decided to stick to its own, are perhaps purely political.

    Polish-speaking Masurians - most of whom were Protestants (only in the region of Allenstein there were many Polish-speaking Catholics - and they are sometimes called Warmiacy / Warmians - from the region of Warmia / Ermland where they lived within East Prussia - in order to distinguish them from Protestant Masurians) did indeed mostly remain loyal to their Prussian homeland, despite the fact that there was also some prejudice against them among German nationalists (as you wrote above). In 1920 in a plebiscite, most of Masurians voted to remain part of their regional East Prussian homeland, rather than incorporating their territory to Poland. Of course results of that plebiscite were also influenced by fact that at that time Poland fought a war against the Soviets (and when the plebiscite took place, the course of the war was unfavourable for Poland - which discouraged voters from voting to incorporate their territory to Poland) - but even without this factor playing its role, it is reasonable to assume that most of Protestant Masurians would still vote to remain in East Prussia, since their "regional patriotism" was stronger than their identity as members of promoted "Polish nation", even though they were speakers of Polish language.

    Indeed, Austria guaranteed broad autonomy to most of its regional ethnic minorities - including also autonomy in Galicia, which was a region inhabited in roughly equal proportions by Poles and Ruthenians (with western part being overwhelmingly Polish, while larger eastern part being mixed Polish-Ruthenian and Ruthenians were more than 75% in south-eastern regions). This fact made various Slavic nations pro-Austrian and opposing less tolerant Prussian rules, as you wrote above mentioning the example of František Palacký and his Czech national movement. Also when it comes to Poles during WW1 there were two major political fractions - one was seeking for support in Austria-Hungary, the other one in Russia. Pro-Prussian (pro-German) fraction was less popular.

    Similar concepts to those "tribes of nations" (like "the Saxon tribe of the German nation" which you mentioned above) were also developed by many non-German national movements of the period. This is how for example Polish national movements often described groups like Protestant Masurians - "Masurian tribe of the Polish nation", etc. But Masurians were actually more loyal to their local homeland - East Prussia - and most of them were perhaps not too much interested in participating in burgeoning concept of reviving a state encompassing all Polish-speakers. On the other hand, there were many non-Polish speakers, who were interested in participating in such a state. For example Ukrainian nationalism was still not very strong among many of Ruthenians from East Galicia - especially among Greek Catholic ones - who often felt as part of the same community as their Polish neighbours, and thus did not want the partition of Galicia between Poland and Ukraine as the result of territorial conflicts following WW1. There were numerous protests taking place against the division of Galicia for two parts, along artificial ethnic boundaries. And it seems that those who protested were less interested in deciding which state was going to control Galicia, but mostly interested in preserving its territorial unity - regardless of what state was going to take control over it (be it Poland, Ukraine, the Soviet Union, etc.).

    To summ up - a very good reading, a well-written and interesting essay. And first of all - accurate and right conclusions.
     
  10. Algeroth

    Algeroth 8 and 1/2

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    Good piece, but I would stress the problem with Prussian identity more - True, many nongermans felt loayality to the prussian crown and identified itself with it, but they didn't identified with the Germany. these parts kept separate identity for a long time after unification.
     
  11. Louis XXIV

    Louis XXIV Le Roi Soleil

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    There's a good discussion of German identity in Barbarian Migrations. It is, of course, focused on the Barbarians, but it covers how the historiography of barbarians relates to German identity and German nationalism. More broadly, the idea of layered identity is central to his thesis, so it's good to find other examples throughout history of the same phenomenon.
     
  12. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    "Rally of autochthons of the Regained Lands" - 23.10.1946 - from Communist Poland's Newsreel:

    Some Polish-speaking German citizens of areas which became Polish in 1945 can be seen (wearing traditional garments):

    http://www.repozytorium.fn.org.pl/?q=pl/node/5980

    Translation of what narrator says in that video:

    "(...) The issue of regulating coexistence between settlers and autochthonous Poles of the Regained Lands is an object of special efforts of our young statehood. After first misunderstandings, this coexistence is becoming increasingly more and more successful. This manifestation has demonstrated an unbreakable attitude of Polish people who during centuries of German occupation managed to preserve their greatest treasure - mother tongue and attachment to native culture. (...)"

    This can be seen also here (Newsreel 36 / 1946) since 08:33 of the video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht2cfvYmZEs#t=08m33s
     
  13. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton How much Parmesan to put on your umbrella?

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    Thanks for the read.

    That Dutch was closer to High Herman than the Lower Saxon dialect was the most interesting tidbit to me, never would have figured.

    But I have some trouble with the starting point of the essay.
    Its agenda as laid out in the beginning was to critically reflect on the Nationalistic claim that the German identity was the product of shared experiences distinct from the experiences of other national identities.
    My issue is with the term "shared experiences".
    What first strikes me about it is that it seems as vague as it is possible to be vague about something which people are supposed to have in common.
    When I think of Nationalistic claims, I think of something much more narrowed-down, I think of the stipulation of shared qualities (which are of course also experienced). And the general shared experience then would only mark the logical execution of the shared qualities. I.e. "Hey we are all so much alike. Lets unite so we can rejoice in our alikeness while sticking together against those not like us".
    And this process of finding unity is also what the essay actually illustrates. Not so much the supposed foundation as imagined by Nationalists from what my total layman-understanding tells me.
     
  14. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Regarding Upper Silesia and it's Polish-speaking German citizens. Below I attempt to answer the question, why during Bismarck's time there was still Polish-speaking majority in Upper Silesia, but not in Lower Silesia:

    This region - unlike Lower Silesia - has remained all the time mostly Polish-speaking since the Middle Ages until modern times. And vast majority spoke Polish there before the Prussian conquest of Silesia in the 18th century. Many scholars wonder, how was that possible, considering that it is estimated, that population of Upper Silesia between years 1200 and 1400 increased about 5 times, or according to high estimates even 10 times. For example in lands of Bishops of Nysa and Otmuchów, amount of ploughland under cultivation increased during that period from 620 łans to 5520 łans (one łan in this case was most certainly ca. 18 ha, even though a Franconian łan was 24 ha and a Great łan was 54 ha).

    Therefore a theory has been developed - and many scholars believe it -, that most of the Ostsiedlung era settlers who settled in Upper Silesia - unlike those who settled in Lower Silesia - underwent gradual Polonization during the period. If this was not the case, then the only explanation why the vast majority of population (especially in the countryside) remained Polish-speaking despite the huge increase of population, would be a very high natural growth rate of native Polish population between years 1200 and 1400. And such a huge natural growth rate in that region is rather unlikely - why would the natural growth rate there be much higher than in any other region of Poland?

    As of year 1200 not only Upper Silesia was a sparsely populated territory, but also western edges of Lower Silesia were sparsely populated and covered by forests. It was precisely that forested western borderland of Lower Silesia, which became the initial area of settlement for immigrants coming to Poland from the west during the so called Ostsiedlung.

    This map illustrates the initial area of German rural settlement in Silesia (blue) - it was mostly German-speaking already by year 1333:

    http://historum.com/european-histor...300-ca-1900-a-6.html#post1619384?postcount=53

    Red colour - areas with ethnic Polish majority. Blue - areas with ethnic German majority. Yellow - areas with ethnic Sorbian majority. Green - areas with ethnic Czech majority. Ethnic boundaries are more detailed / reliable within the black borders than outside:

    Perhaps the blue-coloured area in this map should be expanded slightly further south (my possible mistake). This map is also less detailed than the one posted below (for the mid-1600s), because I made it basing on a less detailed source - so consider these boundaries between linguistic zones as very rough ones, not as totally exact and completely accurate ones:

    Spoiler :

    Ostsiedlung settlers colonized that borderland (in the Middle Ages, most of borderland regions between kingdoms were forested and sparsely populated), therefore destroying the forests which grew there, and which constituted a natural barrier between Germany and Poland. By destroying that barrier, they opened the possibilities for various kinds of ties between Lower Silesia and German states. The next natural barrier which remained, and which could not be overcome by lumberjacks, was of course the Oder River.

    The most densely populated part of Silesia before the Ostsiedlung, was its central part.

    And this central part, was mostly Polish-speaking even as late as mid-1600s (which is illustrated by this map below):

    http://historum.com/european-histor...300-ca-1900-a-6.html#post1619384?postcount=53

    Red colour - areas with ethnic Polish majority. Blue - areas with ethnic German majority. Yellow - areas with ethnic Sorbian majority. Green - areas with ethnic Czech majority. Ethnic boundaries are more detailed / reliable within the black borders than outside:

    This map is based on more detailed sources than the previous one for year 1333, and thus you can see that boundaries are more accurate:

    Spoiler :

    It was also until mid-1600s, when Silesia preserved its strong cultural ties with Poland. And that's because they both spoke the same language as in Poland, but also because there were still many Protestant communities in Poland until the mid-1600s, so Silesian Protestants were at that time culturally closer to Poland than to Germany.

    It is estimated, that at the beginning of the 1600s around 40% of all Senators in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were Protestants (mostly Calvinists and Lutherans).

    Large part of Polish nobility were Protestants until the devastating wars which started in 1648.

    It all changed during those wars, due to the religious composition of the opposing sides. Those wars were more religious conflicts than national ones. The Treaty of Radnot - a planned partition of Poland agreed on 6 December 1656 - involved not a single Catholic party. All signing parties of the treaty of Radnot, were non-Catholics:

    Signing parties of the planned Partition of Poland at Radnot, 06.12.1656:

    - Charles X Gustav of Sweden - Protestant
    - Equerry of Lithuania, Prince of the HRE, traitor to the motherland, Bogusław Radziwił - Protestant
    - Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg - Protestant
    - Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Cossack Hetman - Orthodox
    - George II Rakoczi, Prince of Tansylvania - Protestant

    The fact that all of important players who wanted the destruction of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in period 1648 - 1667 were either Protestants or Orthodox, greatly strengthened the position of the Catholic Church in Poland, creating the stereotype that the Catholic Church was the main friend and the main defender of Poland, and the the only equitable religious denomination of any "Real Polish Patriot", should be Catholic denomination.

    The stereotype of "Pole = Catholic" started to emerge during those years, the 1640s, the 1650s and the 1660s.

    And that fact directly contributed to the enormous success of Counterreformation in Poland.

    To illustrate the success of Counterreformation in the PLC, let's quote this data:

    Number of Calvinist churches in Poland-Lithuania:

    1600 - ca. 500
    1750 - ca. 60

    Nmber of Catholic monastic houses in Poland-Lithuania:

    1600 - 258 (and 4440 Catholic monks and nuns)
    1700 - 785 (and 12865 Catholic monks and nuns)
    1772 - 1036 (and 17711 Catholic monks and nuns)

    =========================================

    As the result of the fact, that Poland became increasingly Catholic and Lower Silesia remained mostly Protestant after the Reformation (only Upper Silesia remained mostly Catholic), cultural ties between Lower Silesia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were considerably weakened.

    When Protestant cultural centers gradually disappeared from the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, Polish-speaking Protestants turned northern and westward - towards North-Eastern German states - in order to strengthen their cultural and religious ties with those regions.

    The direct result of this, was accelerated speed of linguistic Germanization of Lower Silesia after year 1650. Also new waves of German settlers coming to Silesia contributed to the increase of Germannes in the region. Especially after the annexation of Lower Silesia by Prussia. Only in years 1740 - 1806 as many as over 60,000 German settlers came to Lower Silesia from the west, establishing as many as 446 new villages and small towns.

    During the 19th century population of Silesia (both Lower and Upper - but of course Lower Silesia as a bigger region had a larger population) increased from 2,2 million in year 1815, through 3 million in year 1849, up to 5,2 million in year 1910. That was the result of both natural growth and the influx of new immigrants from Prussia.

    When during the 19th century modern nationalism emerged, it emerged at least as much along religious lines as along linguistic lines.

    This is why in the plebiscite of 1921, Polish-speaking population of westernmost regions of Upper Silesia - most of whom were Lutherans - voted mostly for Germany. While Polish-speaking Catholic population of Upper-Silesia voted mostly for Poland. Surprisingly, most probably in several cities even groups of German-speaking and bilingual (Polish-German speaking) Silesian Catholics voted for Poland, which is suggested by fact, that in some cities % of votes for Poland was higher than % of Polish-speaking population living in those cities according to official German population censuses.
     
  15. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Here some similar examples:

    Such an interesting quotation from Konrad Adenauer:

    "We Rhinelanders are the true Germans. The Prussians are Obotrites, Wends, Slavs and the like who put together their state by theft and violence."

    - Konrad Adenauer recalling what one of his schoolmates (who was from Rhineland) told him.

    Also Austrians regarded their enemies - Prussians - as Poles who hid their heritage by Germanizing their names.

    Another quotation (concerning our times):

    "Today some of the Northern Germans look down upon Bavarians and label them as Austrians, who according to them happen to be non-Germans."

    Ironically, the same Northern Germans (who consider Bavarians non-Germans), were considered by Western Germans non-Germans (see Adenauer).

    I suppose Shlomo Sand's next book should be "The Invention of the German People".
     
  16. Wastl

    Wastl Chieftain

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    That would be news to me. Especially considering that Prussians aren't really today's Northern Germans or vice versa.

    Nor will you actually find someone who doesn't consider Bavarians to be German. If they are compared to Austrians it is more or less a joke, the same way someone from Eastern Germany may be called a Pole. Nothing more than a little ribbing just for the fun of it. It's not like those kind of comments don't exist in France or other countries as well.
    Seeing how Austrians are Germans themselves, calling Bavarians Austrians wouldn't make them "un-German" anyway ;)
     
  17. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Believe me, someone from East Germany can be called a Pole. :)

    My Polish cousin lives in Hannover, which is actually in West Germany.

    In East Germany there is currently a real Polish "Westsiedlung" going on, actually. That's because Germans from that region are migrating westward and leaving the land "deserted" for Polish graduates to come - doctors, engineers, etc. Schengen and another Ostflucht are making our "Westsiedlung" pretty easy.

    As for Austrians - today they are about as German, as Australians are Americans. :)

    In Bavaria there is a separatist movement as well - they want independent Bavaria.

    As for Prussians - Brandenburg was part of the Kingdom of Prussia. ;)
     
  18. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Germany won the Silesian plebiscite in 1921 by a small margin - and to a large extent thanks to votes of local Poles.

    A relatively large part of Upper Silesian Poles voted for Germany rather than for Poland in that 1921 plebiscite.

    This is showed by the data I post below:

    http://s14.postimg.org/nrkdssrch/1921_Plebiscyt_B.png



    http://s3.postimg.org/dy5lxvtxv/Plebiscite_1921_B.png



    And % of "Polish votes" (votes for Polish lists) in 1919 municipal elections (data published by Karol Firich):

    Oppeln Stadt - 7%
    Gleiwitz Stadt - 24%
    Kattowitz Stadt - 19%
    Ratibor Stadt - 9,5%
    Beuthen Stadt - 31,5%
    Konigshutte - 41%
    Leobschutz - no Polish list
    Neustadt in OS - 28%
    Ratibor - 62%
    Kreuzburg* - 48%
    Hindenburg - 75,5%
    Kattowitz - 73%
    Tarnowitz - 78%
    Oppeln - 61%
    Tost-Gleiwitz - 72%
    Beuthen - 76%
    Cosel - 46%
    Gross Strehlitz - 70%
    Lublinitz - 67%
    Rybnik - 79%
    Rosenberg - 56%
    Pless - 85%
    Namslau* - counted together with Kreuzburg

    In some counties Polish lists got much bigger % of votes in 1919 elections, than was the % of votes for Poland there in 1921.
     
  19. Phrossack

    Phrossack Armored Fish and Armored Men

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    And amazingly, he's found a way to turn a discussion of Germany towards Poland again. With a double post, no less.

    Good grief.
     
  20. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    This is discussion about Germanness, not about Germany - in case if you did not notice.

    If Polish people (who speak Polish as their first language) vote for Germany in a plebiscite, it suggests they have some level of "Germanness".

    Be it - for example - "economic Germanness", which tells them: "stay in Germany - here you can earn more money than in Bolshevik-devastated Poland".

    The fact that so many Upper Silesians voted for Poland was still largely a "merit" of Bismarck and his persecutions of Polish language and of Catholicism.

    In counties where majority of local Poles were Protestants, majority of votes during the 1921 plebiscite were for Germany.

    That's because Protestantism was not as persecuted by Bismarck as Catholicism, so hostility towards Germany did not grow there.

    Well - I don't edit my posts after several weeks from posting them...

    ==================================

    By the way:

    Upper Silesia was part of Germany at that time.

    ==================================

    By comparison here are the results of the plebiscite in East Prussia in 1920, in the middle of the Polish-Soviet war:

    http://postimg.org/image/ie5zvsrz3/



    According to some sources, in total 13 communes / municipalities voted mostly for Poland (3 in Kreis Osterode, 1 in Kreis Neidenburg, 3 in Kreis Allenstein, 1 in Kreis Roessel, 5 in Kreise Stuhm and Marienwerder). But most of them were enclaves surrounded by territories which voted for Germany.

    So only several border villages were given to Poland as the result of the plebiscite:

    Villages given to Poland and percent of votes for Poland in 1920 in those villages:

    Polish name / German name - % of votes for Poland in the plebiscite

    Małe Pólko / Kleinfelde - 44%
    Kramowo / Kramershof - 50%
    Bursztych / Aussendeich - 79%
    Janowo / Johannisdorf - 48%
    Nowe Lignowy / Neu Liebenau - 58%
    Lubstynek / Klein Lobenstein - 65% (93 votes for Poland, 51 for Germany)
    Napromek / Gut Nappern - 51% (45 votes for Poland, 43 for Germany)
    Groszki / Groschken - 93% (69 votes for Poland, 5 for Germany)
     

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